14 February 2016

Cute YA Romance Novels: My Faves

It's that time of year again! (I love writing holiday-themed blog posts.)

I actually haven't enjoyed Valentine's Day until recently. I suppose it's because, up until the past few years, the only ways I celebrated Valentine's Day were by exchanging valentines with schoolmates and receiving some Hershey's Kisses. I think I enjoy the holiday more now because other people celebrate it with me. (Today I got chocolate, a floral bouquet, a stuffed teddy bear, and some money as gifts. So, yes, I'm enjoying Valentine's Day more than ever.)

So let's get this conversation rolling! Here (in no particular order) are the cutesy YA romance novels that give me warm fuzzy feels:

1. the The Hunger Games series (Suzanne Collins)

Here's the tricky thing about modern YA romances -- some of them tend to distract from the plot. Which launches us into why The Hunger Games is one of my favourite YA romance series.

It's because I respect it. Specifically, I respect how Suzanne Collins wrote developed character relationships (like Katniss/Peeta, Annie/Finnick, and my personal favourite, Katniss/Gale) without distracting from the central plot and the main conflicts. That is, Katniss was fighting corruption and saving her country while kissing boys in the meantime, and her pursuit of romance never interfered with her corruption-fighting and country-saving efforts.

As I writer, I understand the struggle: Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in writing cute romantic scenes for our ships, and we end up neglecting the rest of the plot. But in my perspective, part of fanfiction's purpose is to hash out all of the cute romantic scenes that can't be included in the book, because if they were included in the book, then there would be no actual book with an actual plot that involved anything besides the ship. And that's why I respect The Hunger Games as a series that has romance as well as conflict.

2. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)

Hey, don't groan yet.

This book sort of set a new standard for romantic relationships in YA romance, and maybe not because of Hazel and Gus's actual relationship. Instead, I think it's because of how the book became so popular so quickly -- plus, readers fell even farther in love with the ship because both characters had cancer and it's just so romantic!

But anyway, the main reason why this novel is one of my YA romance faves (aside from the fact that, I mean, Hazel and Gus's relationship gives me all the feels) is because it really did set a new standard for the genre. I think that, in the near future, a lot of readers will continue to compare other YA ships to Hazel and Gus. And good luck to John Green -- if he doesn't keep writing romances like Hazel and Gus's, the literary critics and his many fangirls probably will never let him hear the end of it.

3. the Harry Potter series (J. K. Rowling)

Okay. To be honest, this series is like one big love story. I mean, isn't one of the overall themes that love conquers all and love is the strongest force in existence and love, love, love . . .

Every Potterhead, I think, has their own dearest ships within this series. It's something personal and subjective. I, for example, will ship Ron/Hermione and Harry/Hermione until I can no longer. (I know, aren't those ships sort of contradictory? You can read here for more details.)

But, still. I find the fact that J. K. Rowling was able to interweave so many love stories within one huge cast of characters pretty amazing. And these aren't just boring, flat, empty relationships, either -- all of them are developed and deeply rounded. Even minor ships, in my opinion, have substance and purpose -- for example, Ron and Lavender's short-lived relationship was still important to the plot, because it affected the development of Ron and Hermione's relationship. All of the Harry Potter ships are incredibly well thought-out.

And if you're looking for Harry Potter fanfiction (with plenty of fluff!), here are some pieces that I've written.

4. the Maximum Ride series (James Patterson)

You never forget your first valentine, and as far as novels go, this series was definitely the first for me. The Max/Fang ship was my first OTP, and I shipped it so hard back in the day. (I still adore it. I read fanfiction once in a while.)

Love stories will be love stories, and for years, this series had some of my favourite love stories. If you haven't noticed yet, this post has a certain trend: Most of my favourite ships are between characters who are friends before they are romantic partners. I personally like the idea of romantic relationships having the foundation of trust and respect that is developed in friendships, and this is definitely seen in Maximum Ride.

Plus -- and I don't know why -- I'm also drawn to books wherein the love stories are slowly developed over the course of a long series. (See also: Ron and Hermione. Seven books, and all leading up to one single freaking kiss? Why was I okay with waiting that long?) This is the case in Maximum Ride -- Max and Fang's first kiss was in the first book, but it took them, like, five or six novels to DTR.

(Seriously, though? Just one kiss? Come on, Jo, we stuck around to read ten years' worth of books. We earned more than just one kiss.)

Happy Valentine's Day! Tell me in the comments: What are your OTPs?


  1. I loved tfios, it's actually one of my favourite books. I feel like a lot of people groan at it because of the hype, but it had such a deep meaning for me.

    1. I agree, I like it a lot too. I think that a lot of ships outside TFIOS are compared to Hazel and Gus's relationship. -- Their relationship gave me more feels than I knew what to do with. :)


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